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September 2005

Apparel Review: More For Your Money

Budget shopper or big spender? We have the perfect three-season layering system for you.

©Matthew J. Reigner


GoLite Cumulus Down Sweater

Normally I loathe carrying a warm jacket, since it’s guaranteed to be dead weight until camp. But I had no complaints schlepping this top, thanks to a wispy shell and 800-fill-power down that together make the Cumulus light, packable, and warm in temps as low as 20°F. A DWR coating repels light precip. The high, fat collar, zipper draft guard and elasticized hem and cuffs keep icy drafts out. A close fit eliminates marshmallow-man syndrome. Nitpick: For two bills, it should come with a stuff sack. $200; unisex XS-XXL; 13 oz. (888) 546-5483;

©Matthew J. Reigner


Arc’Teryx Gamma LT

Even if you’re a high-end shopper, you might raise an eyebrow at $200 pants. Don’t. You’ll wear these more than any other piece in the system. These trousers have the same excellent water and wind resistance and tough durability that’s made them a past favorite of ours, but the new Tweave Durastretch Lightweight fabric makes them lighter and more breathable. From windblown ridgetops in near-freezing temps to sun-warmed valleys, I was always at the right temperature. And the pants never retained moisture. The stretchy fabric allows a trim fit without restricting mobility. Two zippered, mesh-lined hand pockets, a zippered right thigh pocket, and integral belt complete the perfect package. $199; men’s S-XL, women’s XS-L; 2 lengths; 10 oz. (800) 985-6681;

©Matthew J. Reigner

(SOFT Shell)

Cloudveil Prospector Hooded Jacket

In all but the worst weather, the piece of outerwear you’ll wear most often will be the one that’s most breathable. So I used my leftover money (OK, I overspent by $22, but this budget isn’t for bean counters) to get this very light, versatile soft shell. Water and wind resistance are what they should be-good, but not so good that you sacrifice breathability. You also get four pockets and a brimless hood (that only adjusts for depth, so wind and snow can sneak in). $170 (men’s, XS-XL, 13 oz.); $155 (women’s, XS-L, no hood). (877) 255-8345;

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